I’ve been reading Steve Sailer for a long time now. I enjoy his writing and usually his choice of topics. I don’t always agree with him, but he makes his case without a bunch of chanting and religious posturing. I think his posts on crime and demographics are some of the best you can find. Unlike anyone in the paid media, he actually supplies data in his posts. That’s also why he is no longer paid media. You’re only permitted to use data in support of the current narrative.
All that said, Steve Sailer is perfectly able to hold some nutty ideas. We all are. His post over at Takimag on Scottish Independence finishes with what I would call a very wrong and very strange opinion.
The Scottish independence movement inevitably inspires the question of secession in America. As John Derbyshire has pointed out, the United States represents a vast expanse of territory, and people from distant regions increasingly get on each other’s nerves. In an era of free trade zones and military alliances, wouldn’t it be simplest for the U.S. to break up like the SNP wants the U.K. to end?
I don’t think so, however. The big difference is that that the U.K. is primarily a north-south country, while the U.S. is an east-west country. Latitude divides people more than longitude. In America, the most important political divide is distance from deep water, such as oceans or the Great Lakes: what I call the Dirt Gap. San Francisco and Manhattan, for example, are 2900 miles apart, but are similarly liberal because family formation is equally unaffordable due to both being similarly constrained from expansion by water. Hence, the “family values” party is less relevant where family formation is prohibitively expensive.
Anyone who has spent time up and down the east coast of America knows this is hilariously wrong. People in Maine have one thing in common with the people of South Carolina. They both speak a version of American English. That’s it. The great divide in America, if one wants to declare one, is north and south as in Blue and Gray as in Roundhead versus Cavalier. It drives our politics and it is what animates the Left. It is the divide John Derbyshire calls the Cold Civil War.
But, he is correct to note there is a divide between the coasts and the interior and the two coasts themselves. I’ve been to the West Coast many times, but I know nothing about it, at least not in the way I know the east coast. The people all seem weird to me, except the Mexicans, who are pretty much like Mexicans everywhere. The whites are all a little odd as I’m sure I would seem odd to them. Even Southerners find the west coast aloofness strange and off-putting. To northeastern types, it’s positively kooky.
Having been around the country quite a bit, I can make the case for all sorts of regional divides. American is a big country with a lot of different types of people. Local weirdness is everywhere. None of it is like the Blue-Gray line. It is what drives the Cult of Modern Liberalism. Their obsession with race, for example, is tied directly to their mythological role in the Civil Rights Movement. The war on Walmart is a war on Southerners. The absurd reaction to Paula Dean was a visceral reaction to her overt “southerness.” The war on Christianity is really a war on Evangelicals. Northern Catholics think the snake handlers make religion look bad.
I can go issue by issue and tease out a Blue-Gray explanation. You can’t do that with the other ways to divide the country. The Blue-Gray line is not tied to geography. It is a culture line that has jumped its natural boundaries. Look at Texas. Austin is the Progressive enclave in an otherwise populist-conservative region. I know lots of NYC and DC based Progressives who regularly go to Austin. They mock the rest of the state as Red Neck Land. On the other hand, the people in Red Neck Land call Austin the People’s Republic.
That’s why John Derbyshire’s argument does not work. The Blue-Gray line is not based in geography. There’s some of it, but every Gray area has pockets of Blue. On the other side, the Deepest Blue region, which is New England, has a lot of Gray. New Hampshire holds a very popular NASCAR race and Maine is full of white trash Acadians. There’s simply no way to divide up the turf without localized blood baths as one tribe purges the other. Maybe that’s the future, but in a feminized and timid culture, it is not the way to bet. Instead, everyone will voluntarily submit to an increasingly authoritarian custodial state.